Balarka Brahma
INDIA
Balarka was born on 22nd April 1984 and is an independent photographer based out of Kolkata, India. A Computer Science graduate, he accidentally fell into photography around 2010. For a few years he has been working with some Kolkata based nonprofit organizations on different activities in areas such as Education, Health and Mental Care. But over the past two, three years he has mainly concentrated on personal projects along with few commercials. From that point onwards, he has slowly shifted from classical social documentary photography to more poetic conceptual works, while also receiving training in moving images and cinema. His works have been published in different magazines like The New York Times, Galli, The Sunday Guardian, Lens Culture, Invisible Photographer Asia, Private, Homegrown and many more. His works have been exhibited in different festivals and stand-alone exhibitions in cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Siena, Tokyo, Siem Reap and Colombo. He is a regular contributor to Getty Images.
Forward Pass
In 2003, a group called the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee started a residential home for kids from various brothel colonies at Baruipur, a small town near Kolkata. The group, long active in advocating for the rights of brothel workers in Kolkata, felt the need to do something for the children of the sex workers as well as their mothers. Most of these children do not get any education at all, and many are driven into the sex trade or are trapped in drug rackets. Durbar stepped in to keep these kids motivated for the future by separating them from their mothers other than just for education and accommodations. They identified football as a way of integrating these children into mainstream society. First was to provide coaching by recruiting professional football coach and support staffs. The effort started small, but it has since expanded; field workers move from brothel to brothel, looking for promising footballers they can bring to the academy. The results were promising. The team became champion of the Indian Football Association’s nursery league and fielded a team in the senior division as well. And the training is paying off. Last year two boys from the academy were selected by the U.K.’s Manchester United to practice with its junior team in Manchester.

The Addis Foto Fest (AFF) was established in 2010 by award-winning photographer and cultural entrepreneur, Aida Muluneh. The festival is organized by Desta for Africa Creative Consulting PLC. AFF is a biennial international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has previously featured exhibitions, portfolio reviews, conferences, projections and film screenings in many different renowned venues. It is also the first and only international photography festival in East Africa.